Author Archive for: Candimmarsh

About Candi Marsh

  • Hear The Voice Of God God is ALWAYS speaking! I know- shocker, right? I can’t be the only one who finds it frustrating when you’re waiting to hear the voice of God, but it seems like He is not answering. Then when you finally hear something the challenge becomes how to know if it is […]

    God Is That You? Learning to Hear The Voice Of God

    Hear The Voice Of God

    God is ALWAYS speaking! I know- shocker, right? I can’t be the only one who finds it frustrating when you’re waiting to hear the voice of God, but it seems like He is not answering. Then when you finally hear something the challenge becomes how to know if it is God’s voice.
    It would be nice if God had a huge mega-phone to speak to us down from heaven.  It would make life so much easier and the answer to our prayers would be clear and direct. We would know whether to take the job offer or not, pursue the relationship or not, or start the business or not without having to second-guess if is it’s God voice, or us wanting it to be God.
    Unfortunately, God does not use a megaphone, but indeed he is always speaking and giving us the guidance and direction we need to move forward according to His will.  There are different ways we can hear the voice of God, we just have to be in a position to hear.
    Our ability to hear from God starts with our relationship with Him. The core values of any relationship are but not limited to; love, trust and intimacy.  I love you is not only something we say with words, but with action. Therefore, if we love God, then everything we do and every decision we make will align with our core value of loving God.  Just like with any other relationship, the way we get to know someone that we love, is by spending time with that person and finding out what they like and do not like. The same is true with your relationship with God. Get to know His word, his character, and his likes and dislikes. Figure out ways to make Him happy.  Spending time with the Lord will not only show that you love Him, but it will also help you learn to distinguish his voice.
    Then there is trust.  
    Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, ability or strength of someone or something. Trust deals with the matters of the heart and our ability to be transparent and vulnerable with others. The more, and more we are transparent and vulnerable with God regarding the matters of our hearts and the areas that concern us, the stronger our level of trust with God will begin to build. The Bible, in Proverbs 3:5-6 says: trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your path.  When we have a strong sense that God is at the center of our situation, we can trust that His leading will always be for our good, even in things we do not understand.  
    Next is intimacy.
    Intimacy is closeness.  By nature when we are in close proximity with a person, it is easier to hear them.  God wants us to get close to Him. In James 4:8 “Draw closer to God, and he will draw closer to you.” The closer we get to God, the better can hear and recognize His voice.  In John 10:4-5 states, “He goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger, in fact; they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
    Once you are in posture to hear from God, then you will be able to recognize the different ways you can hear from God.  There are different ways to hear from God, through His word, people and circumstances:

     

    Struggling to Develop Intimacy with Christ? Click Here for Practical Ways to Develop Intimacy With Christ.

     


    The Word of God
    One of the best ways you can spend time getting to know God is by building a relationship with Him through His word.  When you know the word, you will begin to understand the character and ways of God. His word is powerful; it can bring things into existence from nothing. (Genesis 1:3) This means that God can truly speak into your situation.  By reading His word, you will always receive truth and direct communication from God. Here are some potential concerns, where God speaks to you through His word:
    Uncertain about which career path to take. Should you quit your job, and start a new career?
    -Psalm 46: 10 states, “Be still and know that I am God.”
    Uncertain about a particular love interest. Should you pursue this new love interest even though he/she is not your type?
    -1 Samuel 16:17- But the Lord said, unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him; for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

     

    People
    When it comes to the matters of our hearts and the various challenging circumstances we face (job loss, health complications, a new love interest, starting your own business), making the right decision can come with alot of pressure.  You wonder endlessly about what to do and you’ve sought God, yet you are still unclear as to which direction you should go. It is always best to seek God in prayer but after you have prayed and sought God, there are times when He will use people to deliver the message to you.  These people can be your spiritual leaders (pastor or mentor), a family member, a close friend, or even a stranger. For instance, your pastor may preach a message on stepping out on faith and you think it’s a coincidence, yet it’s the very answer you needed to make the choice to start your new business, or give your love interest a chance.   
    However, whether it is your pastor,  a family member, or a close friend it important for you to continue to draw close to God in order to discern that this is indeed his voice.

     

    Unexpected Circumstances
    God can also speak through circumstances. When unexpected circumstances happen such as: the loss of a job or a loved one, depression, a car accident, a breakup/divorce, or miscarriage, it is important that you remain alert and stay focused.
    Any unexpected life events, can cause anger, depression, or even fear.  However, you must be cautious of our feelings, not allowing our emotions to deafen us to what God may be trying to say. It may be hard to see in the moment, but the closer you get to God, the better position you are to hear what God wants you to know through those rainy seasons. No one really likes for ‘bad things’ to happen to them, but the Bible says, in Romans 8:28, that “all things are working together for the good, to those you are called according to His purpose.” Therefore, it is in these unexpected circumstances, that we have the ability to lean on God and trust Him. As we continue to draw closer to God, we put ourselves in a position to hear Him say,
    You, loss your job, but God says, “trust me, I am your source.” Philippians 4:19
    You, loss a loss a loved one, but God says, “I will always be right there, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
    You, recently divorced or had a miscarriage, but God says, “I will heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
    In conclusion, God speaks to us in different ways.  However, to hear the voice of God, you must posture your heart in the right position. When you draw close to God out of your relationship of wanting to hear from God, through love, trust and intimacy, you will able to hear His still, small voice loud and clear.  

    Hear The Voice Of God

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  • As you are scrolling through your Instagram feed you notice yet again, a well-known public figure. As far as your eyes can see, it appears this person is living a fabulous, pristine life.  Each post screams, they are living their best life, and their two thousand subscribers also agree.  You can’t help but to read […]

    Social Media Induced Low-Self-Esteem?

    As you are scrolling through your Instagram feed you notice yet again, a well-known public figure. As far as your eyes can see, it appears this person is living a fabulous, pristine life.  Each post screams, they are living their best life, and their two thousand subscribers also agree.  You can’t help but to read the comments such as #makeuponfleek, #couplegoals, #bodygoals, #travelgoals. This just confirms your preconceived perception-  This person is perfect!

    Then all of a sudden, negative thoughts start to flood your mind:

    “I am so broke, I will never get to go to those types places.”

    “I am not pretty enough, I will never have a boyfriend that cute.”

    “I am so fat, my body will never look like that.”

    Social media platforms have a tendency to impact our self-esteem.  If we are not too careful, we could easily find ourselves self-loathing, as we compare our self-worth to someone’s IG post. Each social media platform has a different purpose but the common thread with each platform is that they all have the capability for us to share our life with others.  Knowing that our lives will be judged and scrutinized, we aren’t quick to show their lowlight reel; only the good. It is this picture-perfect image that we fall victim to; putting ourselves at-risk of having social media induced low self esteem.”

    Why are we not satisfied with ourselves?

    Why do we compare ourselves to others on social media?

    What will it take for us to accept ourselves and not find our self-worth in others?  

    In this article I hope to address these questions, and help you gain a better appreciation for yourself and build your self-esteem on the Lord, not on  likes.

    WHY ARE WE NOT SATISFIED WITH OURSELVES? 

    In this social media crazed society, dissatisfaction with who you are, stems from feelings of discontentment.  Discontentment has a way of making you feel less than or not good enough. When you buy into that lie, you subconsciously fall in the trap of self-doubt.

    No matter what material items a person has, what exotic trips they’ve taken, or what they look like, your self-worth should not be measured by someone else IG.  Your contentment in who you are should come from Christ alone. The only opinion that matters is the Lord’s. His love is better than any likes on any given day.

    I would encourage you to recite these scriptures  if at anytime you start to doubt your self-worth:

    “For you are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” -Ephesians 2:10

    “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalms 139:14

    “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” –Songs of Solomon 4:7

    If you ever find yourself feeling discontent or not good enough after looking at someone else’s IG post, along with the biblical scriptures listed, here are some practical tools for you to implement as well.

    1. Memorize one of those scriptures listed above.
    2. Take a break from social media. I recommended taking a break once a month just to focus on yourself.
    3. Spend time with the Lord. Take at least 15-30 minutes of time each day to the Lord, and ask God to fill your heart and mind with His love.
    4. Write down 10 things that you like about yourself that is not physical (i.e. good personality, giving person). Get some index cards and post them in areas around your home as reminders to yourself.
    5. Journal. Take some  time to self-reflect and exam yourself from an internal perspective
    6. Get a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On side of the paper write down the areas in your life in which you are discontent (weight, finances, singleness). On the other side of the paper, identify what you can do to change that specific area.  (i.e. I am not pleased with my weight, I can start eating healthier)
    WHY DO WE COMPARE OURSELVES TO OTHERS?

    Comparison is the thief of joy.  When you start to compare yourself to another person IG post, or how many likes or subscribers they have compared to yours, you allow that to rob your joy.  The reason why we compare is because we tend to look for a standard to measure or define success. This many social media likes + this many trip + these many subscribers = success, right? Wrong!  Success is not a formula, and it most certainly is not contingent on how many likes and subscribers you have. You cannot be content and have real joy when you are trying to reach an unattainable standard of success based off of comparing your life to others.  There is always going to be someone smarter, taller, or prettier than you. True contentment comes from loving who you are from the inside out. Again, I highly encourage you to use the six practical tools above to help you do the internal work needed to find your self-esteem in Christ and not in social media.

    WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR US TO ACCEPT OURSELVES AND NOT FIND OUT SELF-WORTH IN OTHERS?

    The answer to that is simple: it will take us taking God’s word as truth.  Like really believing it. It’s easy to quote a scripture and have that be the end of it.  We have to take it even deeper than that by actually hiding God’s word in your heart. Meditate on it, memorize it, and recite while you pray.  You may start off by referring to those scriptures listed above but you may also venture to find other scriptures. Once you truly understand how much God loves and accepts you, you will slowly start to see that you can start to accept yourself no matter where you fall in the social media hierarchy of popularity and importance.

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  • Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines the word “faithful” as steadfast in affection or allegiance.  A few synonyms to faithful are: Dependable Reliable Loyal Faithfulness is a necessary quality to have in any relationship (employee/employer, friendship, romantic, etc.). In the context of marriage, being faithful is critical for the sustainability of that marriage.  When a person is […]

    Remaining Faithful Through Despair

    Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines the word “faithful” as steadfast in affection or allegiance.  A few synonyms to faithful are:

    • Dependable
    • Reliable
    • Loyal

    Faithfulness is a necessary quality to have in any relationship (employee/employer, friendship, romantic, etc.). In the context of marriage, being faithful is critical for the sustainability of that marriage.  When a person is unfaithful, that dismantles trust. Without trust, there can be no true intimacy.

    The same is true for us as it relates to our relationship with God.  To fortify our relationship with God and have true intimacy with Him, we must remain faithful and not leave Him. Being faithful to God starts in our hearts. The way we remain in Him is by being dependent on His Word, reliant on His truth, and loyal to Him in our faith.

    In scripture Psalms 12, David starts the verse praying to God about the disappearance of the faithful.  He states, “Help, Lord, for no faithful one remains; the loyal have disappeared from the human race.”

    David felt alone, how we can feel sometimes while on our Christian journey, wondering are there any “real Christians” left. However, before we go searching for other “real” Christians, let’s first look at ourselves, at our own hearts, to test our faithfulness towards God. We can think we are all good, but we must filter every action, situation, or experience with God’s truth.   

    Here are some practical scenarios that can tempt someone to give up on God:

    • An unexpected death (parent, child or loved one) resulting in depression
    • Loss of a job causing worry and stress
    • Ending of a friendship, relationship or marriage that can stir up bitterness, anger,  unforgiveness, and resentment

    If we can be real for a moment, let’s take the scenarios a step further:

    • Engaging with a rude co-worker or boss leading to pride, arrogance, and a mean spirit
    • Being cut off on the freeway resulting in anger, rage, or resentfulness
    • Disagreement with a sibling, friend, or spouse causing pride, anger, bitterness, or forgiveness

    Have you ever experienced any of these scenarios?  What was your response? Did you remain faithful or did you leave God? Remember we have already left God when the motives in our hearts, our attitudes, and emotions are not in allegiance with God truth. This is why it is important to guard our hearts at all times (Proverbs 4:23) and not be lured away by our own lust (James 1:14-15).

    Now by no means am I saying that you should not have any emotion when life happens, but we must always overcome everything with truth. The scripture James 1:2-4 says “Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature to complete, not lacking in anything.” As children of God, we do not lack anything. God has equipped us with everything we need. We can handle any situation life throws us through the gifting of the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).  

    Let us look at those scenarios again and see how we can respond God’s way:

    • An unexpected death (parent, child or loved one) – allow the Spirit of patience to guide you and lean on God’s love during this time of grief and loss.
    • Loss of a job- allow the Spirit of faith to trust God’s provision.
    • Ending of a friendship, relationship or marriage- allow the spirit of love and kindness guide how interactions with this person.
    • Engaging with a rude co-worker or boss – allow kindness, goodness, and love to guide how you will respond with this co-worker
    • Cut off on the freeway-allow the spirit of self-control to guide your words and actions
    • Having a disagreement with a sibling, friend or spouse –allow the spirit of love and wisdom to guide your conversation and resolve the situation.

    This is how we should respond to life’s challenges. Things may not always go our way, but what we do not want to have is a deceitful heart. In the Bible, David continues his prayer about how the unfaithful respond; “Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart, they speak” [Psalms 12:2]. When we respond against the Word of God, the only person we are fooling is ourselves.  Remember, we remain in God when our motives, attitudes, and emotions are in alignment with God’s truth.

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  • I was eighteen the first time I fasted. I was a sophomore in college and really did not know exactly what it meant to “fast”.  At the time I had just joined a new church and fasting was something they did every year around September. It was a three day fast (no food, no water). […]

    Fasting 101: A Beginner’s Guide

    I was eighteen the first time I fasted. I was a sophomore in college and really did not know exactly what it meant to “fast”.  At the time I had just joined a new church and fasting was something they did every year around September. It was a three day fast (no food, no water).  When it came time to actually do the fast I was really nervous and not even sure it was healthy, but I was determined. Although in it was difficult, I am happy to say that I did it.  Fast forward to today, I am 38, and proud to say that I still fast. Fasting has played a major role in my life and has greatly contributed to my spiritual growth.

    There are many different types of fast as well as various reasons why people fast. My only precaution with any type of fast, is to consult your primary doctor or a healthcare professional to make sure you are not putting yourself in danger.

    The purpose of this article is to discuss what exactly is fasting, how you should approach fasting, as well as the benefits of fasting.

    What is Fasting?

    According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, fasting is defined as abstaining from all or some kinds of food or drink especially for religious observance. However, I define fasting as anything a person is willing to give up for God. Therefore, that means you do not necessarily have to give up food and liquids for it to be considered a fast.  You may choose to fast from anything in your life that serves as a distraction from you being able to focus on God (i.e. social media, television) for any given amount of time or days. Whatever you choose to give up, the impact of the fast comes not from how long you elect to abstain from those things. It’s rather determined by the attitude and the posture of your heart as you go into the fast.  

    Fasting is not magic! Just because you fast it does not mean your prayer will be answered. If you enter into a fast with that approach the posture of your heart will need to change. Before you enter a fast be sure to do a heart check. Make sure your heart is in the right place. You can do this by challenging yourself and asking yourself some tough question (s) such as:

    • Is my heart full of anger?
    • Is my heart full of bitterness?
    • Is my heart full of unforgiveness?
    • Is my heart full of pride?
    • Is my heart full of resentment?    

    If you can answer no to all questions listed above, then proceed with your fast confidently knowing that nothing is going to obstruct your prayers. Fasting is about building your trust and faith in Christ, when approached properly overtime you will start to see the benefits of your sacrifice.  

    How should I approach a fasting?

    Pray before you fast. This can be a simple prayer such as “Lord, I surrender this time unto you and ask that you give me the strength to get through this fast.  In my weakness, you are made strong, I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” By praying you also put God in his proper position during the fast.  You allow him to lead and you can take the passenger seat.

    Ask God to lead and guide you during the fast.   Pride cannot be the present during your fast.  There is no need to advertise to everyone that you are fasting, or boast about your fast.  Allow this time to be sacred time to develop a more close and intimate time with God.

    Have a fast focus.  What are you fasting for?   By having a “fast” focus, you have an opportunity to be intentional. Without intentionality, you will just be dieting or not watching tv for a couple of days. Having a fast focus gives you something to pray for specifically. An example of a fast focus could be fasting for generational curses to broken in your life, fasting for spiritual maturity or strength to maintain sexual purity.

    Meditate on God’s Word. When you are fasting find a scripture or several scriptures to reflect and ponder on.  Take this time to allow God’s word to nourish you. Allow scriptures to get into your heart, mind, and spirit to give you strength.  Fasting is not easy at times, but God’s truth will be your strength when you get weak.

    Expect God to answer your prayer. For somethings only happen by praying and fasting.  Fasting is an act of faith. Fasting is a mature response to your fast focus. There is no guarantee that immediately after your fast, your fast petitions will be answered.  However, your sacrifice builds up your faith and allows you to trust in God’s sovereignty, even after your fast ends.

    Benefits of Fasting

    Breaking strongholdsOne of the benefits of fasting is that it can break longtime strongholds that you may have present in your life.  When you are seeking for a stronghold to be broken in your life fasting is the appropriate response to break that stronghold. An example of a stronghold could be financial generational curses or sexual strongholds. Strongholds are not always easy to break.  Fasting for strongholds to be broken sometimes will take a process and a series of fast coupled with prayer will probably need to occur. Do not get discouraged if you don’t see breakthrough immediately. Over time God will truly honor your sacrifice and in due time that stronghold will be broken.  In Jesus Name.

    Spiritual clarity Another benefit of fasting is that your spiritual eyes and ears will be developed. John 10:27 states, “My sheep know my voice.” When you fast, you are spending quality time with God. It’s during this time that God teaches you how to hear His voice. Having the ability to hear God’s voice is important and allows you to be able to make sound, and wise decisions concerning all aspects of your life.

    Develop an intimate relationship with God– Fasting can be the building blocks of building a deep and real intimate relationship with God.  During your fasting experience, you will find yourself falling deeper and deeper in love with God.  As you start surrendering your heart, mind, will, and emotions to God, your relationship with Him will continue to grow.  You may even find yourself being more transparent and open to God about your feelings and how you feel. Further, he may begin to share his secrets with you. It will be during these times that your love will become more intimate and your time with Him will be personal and real.  

    Types of Fast

    There are various types of fast you can do as you continue on your spiritual journey.  Before you start a fast pray. Ask the Lord what type of fast you should do. If you are considering going on a fast here are a few resources and types of fast you may want to consider:

     

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